Customers check out at a supermarket in Wuhan, Hubei province. Retail sales in November reached 230 billion yuan ($37.16 billion), up 11.7 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.[Photo by Jin Siliu/China Daily]
China is likely to raise its previously announced gross domestic product value for 2013 by about 3 percent to better reflect the rapid development of the tertiary sector in the country, the nation’s top statistician said on Dec 16.
Ma Jiantang, deputy head of the leading group of the State Council for the Third National Economic Census and the director of the National Bureau of Statistics, said the census reflects the advances made by the service industry and small businesses and the rapid changes to the economic structure during the five years since 2009.
Enterprises in the tertiary industry, or the service sector, took up 74.7 percent of the total, up 5.7 percentage points from five years ago. Employees in the service sector accounted for 45.9 percent of the total industry workforce, compared with 42.4 percent five years ago.
In contrast, the proportion of companies in the secondary sector shrank to 25.3 percent, down 5.7 percentage points during the same period, while the number of industrial employees dropped by 3.5 percentage points to 54.1 percent at the end of 2013, according to the NBS data.
The service industry is now a major driving force for economic growth and key to a stable labor market in China, said Ma.
According to the census, at the end of 2013, there were 7.85 million small and micro-sized enterprises in the industrial and service sectors, accounting for 95.6 percent of all corporate enterprises. About 147.3 million people were employed by small businesses during the same period and accounted for 50.4 percent of the total.
China launched the third national economic census in 2013, covering the secondary and tertiary industries. Over 10 million businesses and about 60 million individual enterprises were visited early this year by about 3 million census takers. The national economic census is taken every five years, with the previous two instances being in 2004 and 2008 respectively. The past two censuses led to a 16.8 percent increase in the 2004 GDP value and a 4.4 percent increase in 2008.
One of the main objectives of the broad and complicated survey this time was to verify the development of the rapidly expanding service sector, which is mainly composed of small and micro-sized businesses.
The latest revision will help lift the final GDP for this year, especially at a time when the world’s second-economy is facing serious downward pressure, experts said.
GDP growth reached 7.4 percent in the first three quarters, lower than the government’s 7.5 percent full-year target. Based on the weak manufacturing and investment data in October and November, economists had predicted that the country may fail to reach its target this year.
Zhao Kun, a researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the service industry will develop faster in 2015 as the policy environment will be more favorable, including lower taxes. Retail sales will be another key driver for the economy in the coming years as structural reforms are deepening, he said.
Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said on Dec 16 that retail sales in November reached 230 billion yuan ($37.16 billion), up 11.7 percent year-on-year and up from the 11.5 percent recorded in October. It is also the first increase after consecutive declines over five months.
“The higher consumption is a sign of economic stability after the government decided to opt for targeted policy adjustment to support growth,” said Shen.